VICTOR, N.Y. - On a sunny St. Patrick’s Day afternoon, the Rhinos once again took advantage of the indoor facility at Pinnacle Athletic Campus in Victor as they recover from various storms in the area. Despite conceding an own goal early in the second half, the Rhinos would come back to beat Toronto FC II for a 3-1 win to close out the preseason undefeated.
The Rhinos immediately went on the attack spending the majority of the first half in the offensive third. Brandon Beresford just missed a golden opportunity to put the Rhinos up early. Stefan Defregger hit a cross from the right wing that put the ball on Beresford's foot at the six. A few minutes later, Wal Fall would attempt a deep shot that would have found the net had the Toronto keeper not made an excellent diving save. Toronto’s offense had limited chances, however, in the 44th minute Rhinos GK Tomas Gomez was forced into action on a rare TFC II chance. All credit goes to the TFC II goalkeeper, as he made several saves to keep the score level going into the break.
The second half looked to be going the same way, until Toronto received a free kick about 35 yards out on the left side of the pitch, after the ball hit the roof of the complex. The cross was whipped in, and found it's way into the goal as the clearance was shanked backwards. The Rhinos continued to dominate possession and created many offensive chances, but seemed unable to find the back of the net.
That is until the 82nd minute, when Jochen Graf sprinted down the wing, beating his defender to the end line and drilled in a cross that would strike a TFC II defender at the top of the six and find its way into the bottom corner to level the match at 1.
The Rhinos would take a miraculous 2-1 lead four minutes later, as Christiano Francois' hit a shot that was parried by the TFC II keeper, only to let Jalen Brown come in from the left and tap the ball into the empty net.
Brown sealed the victory with essentially the last touch of the match. Ryan James stole the ball and found Brown at the top of the box, where he unleashed a shot into the bottom corner.
"We played really well in the first half", said Jalen Brown, "In the second half Coach (Lilley) focused on us playing a high-pressure game, which fortunately worked out for us."
The Rhinos will kick off the 2017 USL regular season on Saturday, April 1 against Bethlehem Steel FC at Goodman Stadium. The club’s home opener is on Saturday, April 22 when the defending USL Cup champion New York Red Bulls II visit Capelli Sport Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6:05 p.m. ET.
Advance single game tickets are always available at a discount. Order online using this link, visit the Capelli Sport Stadium Box Office or call 585-454-5425. For limited time, fans can use the promo code 'SOCCER' for $10 off opening day tickets. Those who use this promo code will automatically be entered in a drawing for a Rhinos Prize Pack, which includes an autographed jersey.
For groups of 10 or more and special discounted season tickets and packages please contact the Rhinos at firstname.lastname@example.org or call using the phone number above.